Digital Transformation in Manufacturing & Engineering
11 April 2017
The Manufacturing industry has been a little slow on the uptake when it comes to digitising the workplace. However, more companies are now realising the value of digital transformation, in terms of operational technology and CRM systems.
Because consumers have been so impacted by technology in their personal life – from ordering goods on smart phones to streaming TV shows – there is now an expectation of the same level of efficiency and availability in the professional sectors.
Whilst there has been uncertainty surrounding the Manufacturing industry of late – we can thank political situations such as Brexit for that – it is important that businesses continue to forge ahead with modernisation. Especially if Britain is to truly open itself up to global markets in the wake of leaving the EU.
With other countries already attempting to digitise their Manufacturing industries, particularly in America and Asia, the UK will almost certainly have to play catch up if it is to remain a big contender. Although there will be an initial outlay in terms of adopting the new technologies, the impact is obvious.
As The Manufacturer magazine notes: “There is clear evidence that those offering superior customer experiences are outperforming laggards in terms of attaining and retaining customers, i.e. direct business growth. Therefore, a digital strategy has become a fundamental business imperative, rather than optional.”
In essence, businesses have to keep up with the technology. If they don’t, they face being left behind. The journey towards realising digital capabilities will affect all departments within a Manufacturing company – from R&D to sales; from production to customer service and distribution. In a survey carried out by Fujitsu, 95% of Manufacturing businesses admitted they needed to evolve in order to thrive and 90% believe the industry will fundamentally change by 2021, owing to new technologies.
That is why it is essential that businesses not only invest in the technology, but the correct support to ensure that the software is being used to achieve the greatest potential.
Business intelligence tools – such as Microsoft’s Dynamics 365, Plex Manufacturing Cloud and TargIT – are enabling companies to visualise data and drill it down a lot more efficiently than previous software. This, in turn, can lead to increased efficiency and productivity.
This drive to be digitally capable will, in turn, impact upon recruitment within the Manufacturing industry. The fear of digitisation meaning redundancies is relatively unfounded – it just means that the skills set required to work in Manufacturing is changing. It is essential that the technology is used not only effectively but meaningfully.
Any data gathered has to be translated in to higher levels of productivity or a better customer experience, for example. Other improvements cited include savings to cost, quality, accuracy and the working environment. Therefore, the need to invest not only in the technology but the staff to maintain and analyse it, is clear.
Certainly, this move towards the digital world may seem unsettling for many Manufacturing companies. After all, this is an industry that was built on traditional hands-on work. But it doesn’t need to be scary. Digital transformation could actually open up new streams of revenue, foster new and exciting innovations and make positive changes within the industry.
If you have any recruitment needs within the Manufacturing sector, me and my team would love to help. Click here to talk to us.
Written By Michelle McLaughlin